Song Dynasty Theory as applied to the Martial Arts

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Song Dynasty Theory as applied to the Martial Arts

Postby D_Glenn on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:41 am

This thread is to collect in one place all the various aspects of the mostly Song Era Daoism that had become an amalgam of Chinese Buddhist, Confucius, Daoist, and Folk Traditions of Healing and Medicine and the primary influence on the Internal Exercise and Cultivation practices we find in the Chinese Martial Arts today and hopefully explain them in a way that makes enough sense to the laymen and yet still satisfy the experts.

Thanks goes to my teachers - Dr. Xie and He Jinbao and the forum members who've helped me along the way - Daniel, Josh, C-Hopkins, Kevin Wallbridge, Wuyizidi, and any others who I may have left out.

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Some background information:

Postby D_Glenn on Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:02 am

The "關尹子" "Guan Yin Zi", written in nine chapters --

a.k.a the "文始真經 Wenshi zhenjing"

The Wenshi zhenjing does not appear until the Yuan dynasty, when it is mentioned in Chen Zhensun's Zhizhai shuluyjieti , dated to 1240. It was probably compiled by the Quanzhen patriarch Yin Zhiping (1169-1251), an alleged descendant of Guan Yin. Before that time, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, remnants of an older text are mentioned in various Song bibliographies, but they have not survived.

Kohn, Livia. 1997. "Yin Xi: The Master at the Kohn, Livia. 1997. "Yin Xi: The Master at the
Beginning of the Scripture." Journal of Beginning of the Scripture. "Journal of
Chinese Religions 25: 83-139. Chinese Religions 25: 83-139.

Li Yangzheng. 1993. Daojiao yu zhuzi baijia . Beijing: Li Yangzheng. 1993. Daojiao yu zhuzi baijia. Beijing:
Yenshan chubanshe. Daojiao wenhua congshu, Yenshan chubanshe. Daojiao wenhua congshu,
vol. 10. vol. 10.

Passages from the "文始真經 Wenshi zhenjing"


{Water is 精 Jing (Essence) and 天 Tian (Heaven); Fire is 神 Shen (Spirit) and the 地 Ti (Earth); Wood is 魂 Hun (Ethereal Soul) and the 人 Ren (Person); Gold is 魄 Po (Corporeal Soul) and the 物 Wu (Creature).}

[... work in progress]

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Cultivation Theory Pt 1

Postby D_Glenn on Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:51 am

張伯端 Zhang Boduan (987?-1082 CE) was a Song Dynasty scholar of the Three teachings (Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism):
Zhang Boduan, or Zhang Ziyang 張紫陽, was a native of Tiantai 天臺 in present-day Zhejiang. After passing the Imperial examination, he began a career as a civil servant, but was banished to the frontier in Lingnan, where he served as a military commissioner. Zhang was later transferred to Guilin and Chengdu, where in 1069 he allegedly experienced sudden realization from a Daoist Master who instructed him in Neidan internal alchemy. Zhang wrote the Wuzhen pian, its appendices, and a few other texts, including the Jindan sibai zi 金丹四百字 "Four hundred words on the Golden Elixer" (tr. Davis and Chao 1940). He was additionally an authority on Chan Buddhism.

Biographical sources agree that Zhang Boduan died in 1082 CE during the reign of Emperor Shenzong of Song, but disagree whether he was born in 983, 984, or 987. Zhang was honorifically called Ziyang Zhenren 紫陽真人, ranking him as a Daoist zhenren 真人 "real/true/authentic person; perfected/authentic person" (the zhen in the Wuzhen pian), one rank higher than a xian 仙 "transcendent; immortal" in the celestial hierarchy.

The Quanzhen School of Daoism originated in the 12th century with the Five Northern Patriarchs (Wang Chongyang and his successors). In the 13th century, Zhang Boduan posthumously became the second of the Five Southern Patriarchs in the so-called Nanzong 南宗 "Southern Lineage", which Boltz (1987:173) refers to as "ex post facto".

In Shaanxi, Hong Kong, and Singapore, there are Zhenren Gong 真人宮 "Real/Perfected Person Temples" dedicated to Zhang Boduan.

The received Wuzhen pian text contains a preface dated 1075 and a postface dated 1078, both under the name Zhang Boduan. The Daozang "Daoist Canon" includes several textual editions of varying lengths.

The core of the Wuzhen pian comprises 81 poems: 16 heptasyllabic lüshi 律詩 "regulated poems", 64 heptasyllabic jueju 絕句 "stopped-short line" quatrains, and one pentasyllabic verse on the Taiyi 太一 "Great Unity". Both 16 (= 2 x 8) and 64 (= 8 x 8) have numerological significance, the former denotes two equal "8 ounce" measures of Yin and Yang (alchemical allusions for mercury and lead) totaling "16 ounces" (one jin 斤 "catty"), and the latter correlates with the 64 Yijing hexagrams.

Zhang later appended the Wuzhen pian text with 12 alchemical ci 詞 "lyrics" that numerologically correspond to the 12 months, and 5 verses related with the Wu Xing 五行 "Five Phases".

Baldrian-Hussein describes the text.

The verses of the Wuzhen pian are a work of literary craftsmanship and were probably intended to be sung or chanted. They teem with paradoxes, metaphors, and aphorisms, and their recondite style allows multiple interpretations. The verses are widely accepted as an elaboration of the Zhouyi cantong qi, but their philosophical basis is in the Daode jing and the Yinfu jing. Life, says Zhang Boduan, is like a bubble on floating water or a spark from a flint, and the search for wealth and fame only results in bodily degeneration; thus human beings should search for the Golden Elixir (jindan 金丹) to become celestial immortals (tianxian 天仙). (2007:1082)

The Wuzhen pian is one of the major scriptures of Daoist Neidan "Inner Alchemy " and metaphorically uses the vocabulary of Waidan "External Alchemy", which involved compounding elixirs from minerals and medicinal herbs. The text proposes that External Alchemy is unnecessary because the human body contains the essential components. These Three Treasures are jing 精 "essence; refined, perfected; extract; sperm, seed", qi 氣 "vitality, energy, force; vapor; breath", and shen 神 "spirit; soul, mind; god, deity". Through alchemical refinement of bodily jing and qi, one can supposedly achieve integration with one's spiritual shen nature.

张伯端和他的《悟真篇》 This is an overall account of Zhang Boduan and his book "Understanding Reality" WuZhen Pian by Zhang Zhenguo

Link ~

四、内丹修炼的实践 The 4th Section - Neidan Cultivation Practices:

现在对《悟真篇》的内丹修炼作些归纳性的介绍:《悟真篇》诗词九十九首没有提及下手功夫,估计他都是口授给学生,这和道家道教不轻泄天机的习惯有关。 但从《金丹四百字》、《玉清金笥青华秘文金宝内炼丹诀》我们看到了口授的有关下手功法。 所以归纳起来张伯端丹法有(一)筑基;(二)炼精化气;(三)炼气化神;(四)炼神还虚。 这四个阶段有人把它分为筑基是道术,后面三个阶段是仙术。

筑基阶段命性合炼。 开始时,选择适合自己修炼的时间和场所,根本不必追求“空山静室”。 端坐、平视、双眼微闭、两手虚握太极,顺着呼吸的自然起伏,使自己的气息沉到下丹田,即脐区。 这时自我感觉应当是很松很静。 心静至神静的过程称守一,也就是意守下丹田,重心也应保持在下丹田。 觉得丹田气足了就要准备通关,当然这个气还是后天之气。

通三关,即打通背后三关。 气从尾闾处升起,使它慢慢上升,这是通尾闾关。 气运至后背,几乎与心脏等高的地方,称之谓夹脊关,气容易从此处通过。 气运到后颈脑下与口相对应的玉枕关时,道路不通畅,需要花大力气慢慢通过。 如果通过太快,气容易上冲而至偏差。 从尾闾到头顶泥丸宫,(一说)再到上嘴唇处,称逆运督脉。 由泥丸宫往下,(一说下嘴唇)经过印堂鼻窍即鹊桥,再经十二重楼,即喉管进入绛宫,即中丹田,下行至下丹田即通任脉。 任督二脉通,这时运气不运药,故只能称通脉或称转轱辘,如果运转中有了药,那就得称小周天了。 通与不通,全在于意念的运用,凭意念去体察。 如果有气感、有热的感觉,则说明任督已通。 任督二脉是八脉的枢纽,任督二脉通了,其他六脉也随之而通,(如果有药其中,则为大周天)全身也就通畅无阻。 筑基的过程是有为的,运的都是后天之气。 筑基目的是补人体亏损,活络经脉,通气血。

筑基的关键是要处理好气息。 人生全靠一口气,日常呼吸,呼出时,小腹内缩;吸进时,气下沉,小腹微有上升与突起,做到细长无声,这称调息。 通任督时要学会呼出时连同小腹突起,吸气时小腹内缩,即靠意念持内气沿着督任二脉循环呼吸,这叫调真息,也称橐籥功夫。 开始阶段可以用调息方法,使自己入静,但要真正通任督二脉必须学会逆呼吸,即当外气入腹时真息从腹底沿督脉上升头部百会穴;外气从鼻子呼出时真息从百会穴沿着任脉下降到腹底。

炼精化气阶段,内丹功法称初关。 运行的线路和筑基时一模一样。 这个阶段的主要任务是在筑基的基础上进一步锻炼精气神,达到元精元气与神合凝生成药,也称炁。 如果说筑基阶段以炼气为主,气在任督二脉不断循环运行,那么炼精化炁是指药沿着任督二脉循环运行,称运河车,运行中使药不断纯化。 过尾闾关时需要细步慢行,如羊驾车;经过夹脊关时象鹿驾车,可以大步急奔;过玉枕关时,通道较小,要象牛驾车一样用力猛冲。 从泥丸宫下行要结合沐浴和退符,使得到初步凝练的药归于丹田。

上药三品,神与气精,其实精气神三者是并立的,根据内炼的不同层次和位置分别冠以元气、元精、元神。 筑基使人增加元气。 炼精化炁就是让精气神进一步合炼。 起始阶段合炼出来的称外药,外药是生而采的,即筑基阶段在气海里贮满了元气,在静极一动的时候就表明活子时到来,意味着外药生成,这时就要开始采药。 药生成于西南即腹部。 采取以后就要封固在丹田。 封固的目的在于继续炼药,使它越来越纯。 元神运行到一定程度就会与已经积蓄的元炁在下丹田交会,产生一种比外药更纯的真种子,不采它,它永远是气的一种,只有采了它,它就能迎合外药成为“炁”,结成丹母。 有了丹母才能归根复命,所以炼精化炁阶段实际上就是“三归二”的过程。

要做到“三归二”就要运河车,这是一个比喻,在通关的基础上将运气改为运药,就是运河车。 羊车细步慢行,鹿车大步急奔,牛车用力猛冲,过了三关可以直上泥丸宫,由泥丸宫沿任脉而下丹田,这就是采取药物行周天之法,我们称之谓小周天。

炼精化炁阶段鼎炉的作用不可忽视。 《悟真篇》绝句第一首“先把乾坤为鼎器,次将乌兔药来烹”开宗明义,点明鼎器的位置。 鼎在乾,即在头顶泥丸宫,为阳,也称阳鼎。 器在坤,即在下丹田,为阴,也称阴炉。 鼎器的作用就是为药物锻炼提供场所。 炼精化炁以上丹田为鼎,以下丹田为炉,这叫大鼎炉。 乌为元神,兔为元精。 脐下起火,将采到的外药沿着任督升降,也称烹炼。 药运至炉称归炉,也就是元精元神和土三家相见,生成丹母,即大药,至此完成“三归二”的修炼。 绝大多数修炼者只能修持到这一程度,因此要在筑基和初关上狠下工夫。 否则无法进入下一阶段的修炼。

炼炁化神是神与炁(丹母)合炼,诞生圣胎,也就是婴儿,完成“二归一”的修炼,一般称之为中关。 步骤为凝神炁穴、采大药(丹母)、炼服大药、养药、结丹。 神与气交产生外药,内药采而生,然后与外药凝为大药。 大药也是采而生,再经过一段时间,一般说七日,可以成胎。 修炼方法强调呼吸自然,不必靠意念,只要凝神入定,目光内视观照中丹田。

通奇经八脉的功夫属于大周天功夫。 这一理论首先由张伯端提出,明朝的《性命圭旨》发挥了这一理论,《性命法诀明指》完善了奇经八脉的理论和修炼方法。 其法是由尾闾到头顶中通督脉;由头顶从前面降至生死窍通任脉;由生死窍到气穴,分二路至后腰眼,通带脉,再到两腋窝定位,然后到两肘外,为通阳腧脉;由手心走至阴腧脉,双双回到胸前,再由胸前降至带脉,合归一处,共同回到生死窍,然后上升至心下绛宫定位,这就是通冲脉,注意不能超过心的高度;下降至生死窍分开,双走两腿外,为通阳蹻脉;然后直至脚底涌泉穴,回升到两腿内侧,是为通阴蹻脉;过生死窍,上升气穴定位,由气穴降至生死窍定位。 (参见《历史上的炼丹术》)

炼神还虚阶段是内炼的最高阶段,称上关或九年关。 这个“九”是我国古代汉语中最高的阳数,在这里表示要花很多的时间才能炼成由一归无的性功。 归无就是归道或称归无、归根、明心见性。 《悟真篇》绝句五十一首:“万物芸芸各归根,返根复命即常存”,群阴剥尽才能归根,跳出樊笼才能常存。 要做到这一点,必须将阳神搬移到上丹田。 一般说来,上丹田是炼阳神和阳神所居的地方,中丹田是元炁所居地方,下丹田是元精所居的地方。 阳神上移就是要将在前面三个阶段的基础上炼就的圣胎送至上丹田,功夫不在通关,运河车,而全在于处虚无之境,以虚无之心炼虚无之性情,达到常定常寂,感而遂通,出生入死,圆通无碍,彻底解脱,似与天地永存。 这个时候万法皆空,万宗皆同,真如诗中所说“如来妙体遍河沙,万象森罗无碍遮。会得圆通真法眼,始知三界是吾家”。 性命双修,儒佛道兼修,但归根结底还是落实在形神一致,形神相依、留形驻世而求长生的道家的生命观上。

I don't know that I'll ever get around to translating the above, or that I want or even need to. I posted it to establish some terminology and Chinese characters that most poeple have never seen.

My teacher had relayed to me a really good summary of the whole book and some of it's key ideas and points. I have to write almost entirely from memory so I'm sort of paraphrasing and adding in my own descriptions and links to other sources of information.

So throughout my the following posts: Any mistakes are strictly my own. And they're not intended to be an exhaustive description or portray the reality of all Daoist practices or be a direct translation of the various sources. Just a general summation of theory intended to be a starting point, or rather, hopefully to persuade one from thinking too much about it all and instead just practice.

In the texts they talk of the 離卦 Lí Guà ☲ which represents Fire (火 Huǒ) and the Heart-Mind Spirit (心神 XinShen) or consciousness of our mind.

And the 坎卦 Kǎn Guà ☵ which represents Water (水 Shuǐ) and the Kidneys, Essences (精 Jīng), and the true knowledge of the 道 Dào.

The Fire is naturally above the Water both in our bodies (the Heart is above the Kidneys) and in nature as Fire rises up and disappears into the Heavens and Water flows down to the lowest spots of the Earth.

In the natural order of things our spirit comes from Heaven (天 Tiān / 乾卦 Qián Guà ☰) and is affected by the realities of the World or Earth (地 Dì / 坤卦 Kūn Guà ☷) which in turn affects our minds and we go further and further away from the 道 Dào.

In Internal Cultivation we seek to reverse this by figuratively putting the Water above the Fire and allow the Water to cool down the Fire/ Heart-Mind's Desires.

Or in other words we take the 阳 Yáng line from the middle of Water Trigram ☵ and put it in the middle of the Fire Trigram ☲ to replace it's 阴 Yīn​ line and make the Heaven Trigram ☰ and allow the true knowledge of the 道 Dào to control the Heart-Mind (心神 XinShen).

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Cultivation Theory Pt 2: Defining 'Qi'

Postby D_Glenn on Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:57 am

A General overview of 'Qi' in our body:

1. 空氣 kōng qì (air energy) - is essentially breath, oxygen in the body.

2. 水穀精氣 shuǐ gǔ jīng qì (water food essence energy) - is the 精 'Jing' (polyamines) and nutrition we absorb from our diet to combine with oxygen from the lungs to form ATP and every other biological process.

3. 先天精 xiān​tiān jīng (pre-heaven/ ancestral/ innate/ intrinsic essence) - is the 精 'Jing' we get from our mothers while in the womb. (The 神 'Shén' (Spirit) comes from the father.)

So - 1. Breathing in fresh air, 2. Eating good food and drinking clean water, and 3. Practicing moderation in the bedroom, for men; Acupuncture or similar, (to shorten the periods), for women; to conserve 精 our 'Jing'.

Then, through various autonomic physiological and chemical functions of the body those components are ultimately transformed into 衛氣 Wei qi (defensive qi) and 營氣 Ying qi (Nutritive qi), Yang and Yin respectively. (* ~ see picture below)

Through the 'Standing Practices and 行桩 Xing Zhuang (Moving - Standing Practices), such as Baguazhang's Circle Walking or other slow-moving meditation type of practices, the body is transforming food, air, etc. into useable energy for the muscles. After one spends enough time doing 'Standing Work' (Zhuang Gong) and can hold the weight of their own limbs and body up, at that point, since the body is still transforming and producing energy but there is little actual work being done we begin to develop a surplus of Wei and Ying Qi. Where: "The outside of your body becomes like a type of 'iron body' and the inside is free of disease and sickness." (Note -- that at this point passive, relaxed standing doesn't develop near the same amount of surplus compared to actively using the muscles to isometrically work, so as to further trick the body and, more importantly, drive the muscle cells to divide and increase in number, which sends more signals for more required energy and increases our overall storage capacity for energy.)

Wei qi is the insubstantial feeling that moves around in the spaces between the skin and muscle (fascia). You can listen (ting) to your own wei qi and that of other people but it's main purpose and function is to autonomically tense up the skin, flesh, muscle and ligaments to protect the body from a blow, such as a punch or kick at and around the point of impact. It's directly linked to our eyes because if you are not aware of an incoming blow then it's what we know as the devastating "sucker punch". It's also why there is the saying, and strategy of: "It's not the obvious hand that hits; but the hidden hand that hits." in the CIMAs.

Ying qi is a substantial feeling that guides, moves, and resides in the blood. Wei and Ying qi are coordinated and harmonized and one can train them to be consciously directed by our Eyes and/or the 意 Yì (mind; intent). [This is where you don't want to gain too much somatic control as you always want their autonomic functions to return to normal. It's a slippery slope and really, as martial artists, just having a surplus is all we need.]

A surplus of Wei and Ying Qi is referred to as “后天氣 Post heaven Qi or Acquired Energy. And this whole process is, more or less, the 精 Jing -> 氣 Qi -> 神 Shen (neurotransmitters and the 5 Shens) cycle.

This surplus of energy can then promote or rather return to become 先天炁 Pre heaven Qi or Innate/ Intrinsic Energy. This type of 炁 Qì begins to build up and is stored in the 丹田 Dān​tián and eventually throughout the whole body. (It is: 精 Jing -> 氣 Qi -> 神 Shen -> 炁 Qi).

As martial artists we can use this 先天炁 Pre heaven Qi (Intrinsic Energy) in combination with 'Physical/ mechanical movement' - 力 Lì to become a 'Physical and underlying Energetic movement' called - 勁 Jìn - (the character for 'Underground River' - 巠 Jīng; next to 'Mechanical Force' - 力 Lì ) which is then like a refined, trained type of movement that can be used to 'Fa' (Issue/ Emit), 'Zhan' (Cause the opponent to Stick), etc.


* -



And my post from the other thread to bring it into the context of the Chinese Martial Arts:

From 萇乃周 Chang Naizhou's (1736 - 1795) writings on Internal Martial Arts:

苌氏武技书 卷一


中气者,即仙经所谓元阳,医者所谓元气,以其居人身之正中,故武备名曰中气。此气即先天真乙之气,文炼之则为内丹,武炼之则为外丹。然,内丹未有不借外丹而 成者也。盖动静互根,温养合法,自有结胎还元之妙。俗学不谙中气根源,惟务手舞足蹈,欲入元窍,必不能也。人自有生以来,禀先天之神以化气,积气以化精。 当父母构精,初凝于虚危穴內,虚危穴前对脐,后对肾,非上非下,非左非右,不前不后,不偏不倚,正居人一身之当中,称天根,号命门,即《易》所谓太极是 也。真阴真阳,俱藏此中,神实赖之。

此气之灵明,发为五脏之神:心之神、肝之魂、脾之意、肺之魄、肾之精与志。赖此主持,呼吸依之,吸采天地之气,呼出五脏之气。呼自命门而肾而肝而脾而心而 肺,吸自肺而心而脾而肝而肾而命门,十二经十五络之流通系焉。经络者,气血之道路也。人一呼气血流三寸。呼吸定息,共行六寸。人一日一夜凡一万三千五百 息,昼夜行八百一十丈,阳行二十五度,阴亦行二十五度,共计昼夜凡五十度,遍周于身。自脏腑而出于经络,自经络而入于脏腑,从此而生两仪。乃生肾而骨(肾有左阴右阳), 肾属水脏,水能生木。肝属木脏,而生筋;筋附于骨,乃生肝而长筋,木能生火。心属火脏,而主血脉,火能生土。脾属土脏,而生肌肉,土能生金。肺属金脏,而 主皮毛,乃生肺而长皮毛。五脏以次而长,六腑以次而生,是形之成也。因真乙之气,妙合而成,气之聚也,由百骸毕具而寓。一而二,二而一,原不可须臾离也。 武备如此,练形以合外,炼气以实内,坚硬如铁,自成金丹不坏之体,则超凡入圣,上乘可登。若云敌人不惧,尤其小焉者也。

{Chang Family Martial Skills Book Part One

Middle Qi Theory

"Middle (中 Zhong) Energy (氣 Qi)" is also what the Ancient Daoist Classics call "元陽 Yuan Yang" (Original 'Yang'), and TCM calls "Yuan Qi" (Original Energy). Since it resides in the center/ middle of the human body it's called "Zhong Qi" in the Martial Arts.

This type of Energy is our Initial Pre-Heaven Energy. On the Mindful side it's cultivated using Neidan (internal practices). On the Martial side it's cultivated using Weidan (external practices). Thus Internal and External practices are always combined to achieve the cultivation of 'Zhong Qi'.

Using both Movement and Stillness is the basis for generating warmth and building up a solid supply of Energy in the body, which is like depositing money in a bank. Common people don't know of 'Zhong Qi' because they're worried about day to day business and then going out and enjoying their free time. Doing what they desire is like only taking money out of a bank, only having enough money to live day to day.

From birth one is getting Pre-Heaven 神 'Shen' (Spirit) from the conversion of Energy (氣 Qi), they have an abundance of Energy from the conversion of 精 'Jing' (Essence).

From the mother and father we get 精 'Jing' (Essence). It first concentrates at an empty space on the inside behind the navel and in front of the kidneys. No higher, no lower, not left, not right, not too far forward, not too far back, just exactly in the center of the whole body and the center of gravity. It's commonly referred to as the 'Mingmen' (gate of life) but is also called 'Taiji' (point of transformation) in the classics. It's the True Yin and True Yang and is concealed in the Center on which our 神 'Shen' (spirit) depends. This energy is quick and moves like sunlight breaking through the clouds. It gives rise to the 神 'Shen' (spirit) of the Five Organs: Heart 心神 'Xin - Shen' (Mind Spirit), Liver 魂 'Hun', Spleen 意 'Yi', Lung 魄 'Po', Kidney 精 'Jing' (Essence) and 志 'Zhi' (Will). Together these allow the person to live in the world and take in energy from the world and invigorate the Five Organs. Breathing out/ exhaling starts at the 'Mingmen'/ Gate of Life, goes to the kidneys, liver, spleen, heart, then the lungs and out. Inhaling comes into the lungs, to the heart, spleen, liver, kidneys, and back to the Gate of Life/ 'Mingmen'.

The breath and blood spread through Yin and Yang meridians and blood vessels to every part of the body. So from the organs stems the flow to the meridians. From the meridians the energy flows back to the organs, called: 兩儀 Liang Yi (Yin and Yang), and thus is born the two kidneys, and from the kidneys comes bones (the left kidney is Yin, the right is Yang). The Kidney is the Water Organ. Water gives birth to the trees (Wood). The Liver is the Wood Organ and develops the Tendons. The Tendons attach to the bones (kidneys). Thus the Liver is the controller the Tendons. Wood is capable of starting Fire. The Heart is the Fire Organ and controls the blood vessels. Trees burning return wood to the Earth. The Spleen is the Earth Organ and controls the Muscles. From the Earth is mined the precious Metals. The Lung is the Metal Organ and develops the skin and hair. Thus the Lungs are the controller of the exterior opening to the world (skin, inside lining of the lungs). The Five Yin Organs, and their sequence, also control and invigorate the Six Yang Organs. Thus the True Qi invigorates all the Organs, Tissues, and the Bones of the body but rely on one another and the whole will die without each other.

For Martial Development training the outside/ external shape of the body along with the internal health of the body makes the whole body like a hard yet flexible, unbreakable weapon. And it feels like other people are just small clouds when you meet/ [strike] them.}


In the Chinese Martial Arts we talk about 意 'Yi' and not so much about 心神 'XinShen' (Mind Spirit) because our mind is our consciousness, which initiates the thought, it's our 意 'Yi' that does all the work to carry out the thoughts. Our 意 'Yi' is our Mind's tool. It's the one aspect we naturally have, (and actually need to have) somatic control of, as it controls the 肌肉 Jirou (skeletal muscles and flesh).

The movement of Skeletal Muscle in turn moves our bones and structure - Bio-Mechanics, called: 力 Li.

The changes and variations in the Flesh; where there is a shifting between 鬆 sōng (relaxation) and 緊 jǐn (tension) is called: 勁 Jin.

靜 Jing/ Stillness:
The 魂 'Hun' has control over the tendons and by using our 意 'Yi' we can only impart a gradual change in the tendons over a period of time. This is done through the use of 'Standing Practices' (Externally Still, Internally Moving) while using our 意 'Yi', controlling our muscle and flesh to be constantly stretching the tendons and extending the tendons outward. Through daily practice the tendons then become reconditioned so that instead of impeding our martial movements they're actually aided by the newly conditioned tendons. The result is a significant increase in the speed that one can move when the muscles aren't being hindered by the tendons.

The 魄 'Po' has autonomic control over the exterior. The opening and closing of the pores of the skin - aka the 'Exiting' and 'Entering' of 'Guardian Energy' (Weiqi), is how the skin contracts and tightens instinctively when one is being hit or struck to protect the interior. During 'Standing Practice' there is movement of Blood and 'Nourishing Energy' (Yingqi) going out the extremities as the 意 'Yi' is activating the muscles and signaling the need for more blood. We can also urge the Spirit and 魄 'Po' by using our Eyes to look at the hands or tips of the fingers, or look to where we want the most blood to move to in the Standing Posture, which is typically the 出手 'Chu Shou' (Outgoing hand) in the Posture. Over time, more and more capillaries are opened up and the skin is further nourished. This increased nourishment of the skin allows the 魄 'Po' to work more efficiently and there is a change at the cellular level of the skin and tissues.

動 Dong/ Movement:
In Moving Practices (Externally and Internally Moving) we are limited by our 魄 'Po' - Pre-Heaven' condition. But, when learning a Martial Art, we at first use our imagination combined with our 意 'Yi' so that the 魂 'Hun' (as Kevin mentioned - is who or what we want to be) can gradually impart changes on our 魄 'Po'. When someone is in a car accident the 魄 'Po' takes over control of our body because it's in control of our relationship with the outside world, "our senses", and it's direct control of the senses happens at a much faster speed than we can think or react. In a fight or dire situation our 魄 'Po' also takes over but through practice and training we can impart a new set of Martial tools for our 魄 'Po' to employ by practicing everyday with intent (意 'Yi'); visualizing and imagining movements and applications in our mind's eye; and ultimately practicing enough so that our 魂 'Hun' imparts a change in our 魄 'Po' at the spiritual level.

This is considered going in reverse(逆 Ni) of the Natural Order of Things, where the Post-Heaven imparts changes and transforms the Pre-Heaven.

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Cultivation Theory Pt 3 The Conclusion

Postby D_Glenn on Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:14 pm

... So we have the Fire (火 Huǒ) of our Heart-Mind (心神 XinShen) that needs calmed down by the Water (水 Shuǐ) and will of the Kidneys/精 Jīng in order to find and access the true knowledge of the 道 Dào to control our Spiritual processes.

And there is 'The fire of life' (相火 Xiang Huo). Which represents our daily Physiological process - The Fire needs oxygen to burn as it heats up the water we drink and the food we eat, creating steam or vapor (氣 qì). The fire burns until we die, typically though it burns too hot, boiling over, wasting food and water, making the body's biological processes, cell replication, etc. all work too hard and occur at too fast of a rate, mutations arise, we age and die prematurely.

Looking at the character: 炁 Qì there is the modified character for 'Fire' (火 Huo): 灬 beneath the character 旡 Jì (choke; the reverse image of 欠 Qiàn (to breathe)) which means to figuratively choke out the flames and just leave the hot coals burning. And one can get ahead of the game and ultimately have an excess of 神 'Shén' (spirit) that is able to return to the 丹田 Dān​tián and it's then called 炁 Qi. This is where the aging process is slowed down and one is gradually back to the state we were in when we we're born, and then actually improving upon that, which is why it's called 先天炁 Pre-heaven Qi (Before we were born Energy).

先天 Xiān​tiān can be translated literally as "Pre-Heaven" but is also translated as "Intrinsic, innate, inborn, ancestral, natural, congenital".

After we're born we are all in a 后天 Hòu​tiān "Post-Heaven" state, or condition and it takes a lot of work to get back to the 先天 Pre-Heaven state where one is improving their daily condition, the body becomes more self-sufficient, only needing to take in exactly what is used, and ultimately improving upon one's own inherited genes.

The Natural order of Things (順 Shun) is living under the control of our hearts. The mind is born from the heart. The heart's emotions control our minds. Rashness and desire lead us on the Natural Path of living.

The Daoist meditative path is contrary to the Natural order of Things. It's 'Moving Against' Nature (逆 Ni) in order to get back to the 先天 Pre-Heaven state. We learn to quiet our emotions and control our desires. Increasing personal health and on the Martial side the body's strengths become more like the power seen in wild animals, as the 先天 Pre-Heaven state of the Body is primal, where the 魄 'Po' (Corporeal Soul/ Body) is strong,vibrant, and robust; but the Mind is actually calm, focused, and capable of great thought as the 魂 'Hun' (Ethereal Soul) is also strong. The 魂 'Hun' and the 魄 'Po' are both strong but in balance.

The 'Standing practices' of the Chinese Martial Arts are a type of Daoist Cultivation practice as they are a great way to Guide and Lead (導引 Dǎo​yǐn) Energy throughout the body and eventually bring about the cultivation of 先天炁 Pre-heaven Qi. Once one is well into the practices the 'Conversion or Transformation' process can't be reversed. So it follows the only course it can and one now has a New-Nature.

There isn't really the need to follow the Sitting Practices where one is using only their mind to Guide and Lead (導引 Dǎo​yǐn) the flow of Energy. That's only done if someone has a direct one-on-one instruction from a teacher who's done the practices and only to speed up the process. The amount of time that it's sped up is entirely based on the age and the current health status of the practitioner. As we get older the the Fire (火 Huǒ) of our Heart-Mind (心神 XinShen) naturally begins to calm down and hence there is less need to impart the stricter rules described in the Daoists texts that are done in order to have the 'Water' quickly act on, and control the overactive 'Fire'.

My teacher sees many Qigong practitioners who've become obsessed with obtaining the Dao and they've really practiced themselves into a sick and unhealthy state of both body and mind. Meanwhile the people who focus on just the martial arts of the many different CMAs, especially the ones that have been dubbed the 'External' styles and are looked down upon, are actually some of the most youthful, strong, and vibrant people he knows and of sound body and mind.

These things were explained to us in hopes that now that we know all about them, that we'll no longer have to think or worry about it and just diligently practice.

Enduring and persevering through the pain and trial of the Martial exercises and one will naturally find the quiet, meditative state that's required to even do the practices. Then the cultivation process will naturally come about.

The more you sweat, the more the 'Weiqi' will be strengthening the exterior and 'Yingqi' strengthening the interior of the body.

The more you sweat the more toxins and turbid fluids will be excreted and replaced with fresh, clean fluids. Because if you put a pot of rank, rancid, and stale water above the the fire, after it's all boiled down, what do you have left? A lot of muck and crap.


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Re: Song Dynasty Theory as applied to the Martial Arts

Postby Bob on Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:09 am

Thank you for the work in compiling the info--much appreciated!
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The Neidan Translation and Summary

Postby D_Glenn on Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:22 am

[I've actually decided that I needed to at least translate part of this article/ essay written by 张振国 Zhang Zhenguo that discusses Zhang Boduan's book, "The Wu Zhen Pian". This text was relayed to me by my teacher and it really sums up the whole thread and the entire theory of Daoist Cultivation in the Chinese Martial Systems. Without hearing this text quoted I know that my understanding would still not be complete, so I hope that this quick translation benefits the people who are reading this and maybe helps them to make sense of their own understanding of Daoist Cultivation Practices.]

四、内丹修炼的实践 The 4th Section - Neidan Cultivation Practices:

现在对《悟真篇》的内丹修炼作些归纳性的介绍:《悟真篇》诗词九十九首没有提及下手功夫,估计他都是口授给学生,这和道家道教不轻泄天机的习惯有关。 但从《金丹四百字》、《玉清金笥青华秘文金宝内炼丹诀》我们看到了口授的有关下手功法。 所以归纳起来张伯端丹法有(一)筑基;(二)炼精化气;(三)炼气化神;(四)炼神还虚。 这四个阶段有人把它分为筑基是道术,后面三个阶段是仙术。

"The Wu Zhen Pian"
The Daoist Cultivation Texts were written in short poems. This essay will try to present a clear understanding and true nature of the practices:
"The Wu Zhen Pian" consists of 81 poems designed to introduce and start a student on the path. It's written so that the student could chant the poems and memorize them. It was a habit of the Daoists and schools of Daoism to not easily divulge the secrets of Internal Cultivation. However, the "Building the Golden Container described in 400 Words" and the "Jade Emperors Secret Cultivation of Youth and Immortality", have been well looked after and the methods passed down orally. Therefore we can deduce and bring together the old teachings of our ancestors and openly lay out the secrets:
1- Building a Foundation; 2- Refining Essence (精 Jīng) to transform it into Energy (氣 Qì); 3- Refining Energy (氣 Qì) to transform it into Spirit (神 Shén); 4- Refining Spirit (神 Shén) to Return it to the Void (虛 Xū). These Four Stages are what allow people to divide into basics the methods of obtaining the Dao. The 4th Stage consists of the first 3 Stages going in reverse to achieve spiritual health and long life.

[I'm only translating the parts that pertain to the Martial Practices and in particular the Daoist practices that had been incorporated into the Chinese Martial System of Baguazhang. If one so wishes they can figure out how to extrapolate them into or figure out how similar concepts were incorporated into the other Martial Systems.]

筑基阶段命性合炼。 开始时,选择适合自己修炼的时间和场所,根本不必追求“空山静室”。 端坐、平视、双眼微闭、两手虚握太极,顺着呼吸的自然起伏,使自己的气息沉到下丹田,即脐区。 这时自我感觉应当是很松很静。 心静至神静的过程称守一,也就是意守下丹田,重心也应保持在下丹田。 觉得丹田气足了就要准备通关,当然这个气还是后天之气。

Stage 1 - Building a Foundation; or Refining the Nature of Life. In the beginning pick a time and place to do your Cultivation Practices. This doesn't have to be alone on a mountain top, just alone anywhere will suffice. Sit upright and find the serenity. The two eyes look down and are almost closed. Both hands are closed into natural, hollow fists. Follow the movements of your breathing as the breath is naturally rising up and then back down. Allow the breath to fully sink all the way down to the 丹田 Dān​tián (the area below the navel). At this point you should begin to feel your 'True Self' (自我 Zì​wǒ) become very relaxed and calm. The Mind (心 Xīn) is calm and the Spirit (神 Shén) is calm. And through this process they're balanced and function as one [心神 Xīnshén] and then they keep watch/ stand guard over your outside surroundings. We then use the tool of our Mind: the 'Intention' (意 Yì) to focus and keep watch/ stand guard over our 丹田 Dān​tián and the 'Center of Gravity' (重心 Zhòng​xīn) which is right under the 丹田 Dān​tián. This focusing will consciously acquire an Energy (氣 Qì) in the 丹田 Dān​tián and is necessary for preparing to move. Of course [at this stage] the Energy (氣 Qì) will still only be 'Acquired Energy' (后天氣 Hòu​tiān Qì).

[This text is describing Daoist Austerity/ Neidan Practices. In the Martial Systems the 'Building the Foundation' Practices are done while Standing as we are working to develop Internal and External strength. Not to mention that in order to do the Sitting Practices one would have to be used to sitting on the ground by having done it almost everyday of their life or else the stagnation of blood and energy in the legs would probably negate any potential cultivation. Even when one is comfortable in a sitting position the Daoists of the past often had to take herbs like 丹參 'Danshen' to promote the flow of blood in the legs. So on the martial side we start building the foundation using 'Martial Standing' practices, where our 'Intention' (意 Yì), like in the sitting practices above, is also being focused on the 丹田 Dān​tián but our eyes are kept open and looking at the hand(s).]

通三关,即打通背后三关。 气从尾闾处升起,使它慢慢上升,这是通尾闾关。 气运至后背,几乎与心脏等高的地方,称之谓夹脊关,气容易从此处通过。 气运到后颈脑下与口相对应的玉枕关时,道路不通畅,需要花大力气慢慢通过。 如果通过太快,气容易上冲而至偏差。 从尾闾到头顶泥丸宫,(一说)再到上嘴唇处,称逆运督脉。 由泥丸宫往下,(一说下嘴唇)经过印堂鼻窍即鹊桥,再经十二重楼,即喉管进入绛宫,即中丹田,下行至下丹田即通任脉。 任督二脉通,这时运气不运药,故只能称通脉或称转轱辘,如果运转中有了药,那就得称小周天了。 通与不通,全在于意念的运用,凭意念去体察。 如果有气感、有热的感觉,则说明任督已通。 任督二脉是八脉的枢纽,任督二脉通了,其他六脉也随之而通,(如果有药其中,则为大周天)全身也就通畅无阻。 筑基的过程是有为的,运的都是后天之气。 筑基目的是补人体亏损,活络经脉,通气血。

'Opening the Three Gates' (通三關 Tōng Sān Guān) is opening up, or removing the blocks located at the three gates in the back. Energy begins to move by moving [tucking under] the tailbone, which causes the Energy to slowly ascend and pass through the First Gate in the lower back [Mingmen point]. Energy can then move up the back the to the Middle gate in the spine, which is about even with the heart and also called the 'Spine Gate'. Energy than moves up to the back of the neck where it meets the base of the skull, about level with the mouth, called the 'Jade Pillow Gate' (玉枕關 Yùzhěn Guān). In order for Energy to follow the path up through the gates one must vigorously but slowly move Energy up it. In the event of Energy rushing too quickly to the top there might be 'Deviation'. The complete path is from the tailbone up the spine, through the neck. Then it returns by going around the top of the head to the Pituitary gland ('Mud Pill Palace'), then to 'Yintang point' which is between the two eyes and right above the bridge of the nose, then downward jumping from the roof of the mouth to the tip of the tongue, down through the throat to the 'Middle Dantian', then traveling down the 'Conception Meridian' (任脈 Rèn Mài), and finally returning to the 丹田 Dān​tián.

The 'Conception Meridian' (任脈 Rèn Mài) and 'Governing Meridian' (督脈 Dū Mài) then move Energy out to all the Meridians which is also known as 'Turning the Wheel' (轉軲轆 Zhuàn Gū​lù). Because of this you actually start to obtain some real increase in one's basic level of health. And also understand what is called the 'Small Circuit' (小周 Xiǎo Zhōu). Being able to then just use one's Intent (意 Yì) to think of moving or not moving the Energy is the goal. And in turn using what your Intent (意 Yì) tells you to gain further experience.

When feeling the movement of Energy (氣 Qì) it must be accompanied by a feeling of warmth, because the 'Conception Meridian' (任脈 Rèn Mài) and 'Governing Meridian' (督脈 Dū Mài) must also be flowing. The 'Conception Meridian' (任脈 Rèn Mài) and 'Governing Meridian' (督脈 Dū Mài) are the hub and source of flow to the Eight Meridians and subsequently the other Six Meridians. (This flowing of all 16 Meridians is also known as the 'Greater Circuit' (大周天 Dà Zhōutiān). Where the whole body is moving freely without obstructions.

Build the foundation to start the real process; start the process and you will begin to see real progress happening and have a greater understanding of the movement of energy in the body, and have the key to obtaining 'Acquired Energy' (后天氣 Hòu​tiān Qì). The goal of the Foundation Practices are so one's body is no longer functioning from a deficit but to now have a surplus of energy flowing through the meridians and blood vessels.

筑基的关键是要处理好气息。 人生全靠一口气,日常呼吸,呼出时,小腹内缩;吸进时,气下沉,小腹微有上升与突起,做到细长无声,这称调息。 通任督时要学会呼出时连同小腹突起,吸气时小腹内缩,即靠意念持内气沿着督任二脉循环呼吸,这叫调真息,也称橐籥功夫。 开始阶段可以用调息方法,使自己入静,但要真正通任督二脉必须学会逆呼吸,即当外气入腹时真息从腹底沿督脉上升头部百会穴;外气从鼻子呼出时真息从百会穴沿着任脉下降到腹底。

The pivotal point on which the 'Building the Foundation' Practices rely is on the breath. One's whole life depends upon a single breath. Everyday you have to breathe. Every time you exhale the abdomen sucks in. Every time you inhale the (氣 Qì) sinks back down. In the exhale there should be an obvious and sudden rising upward of the abdomen. And the inhale should be practiced to be fine and long so that it's silent. This is called 'Harmonizing the Breath' (調息 Tiáo Xī). One must then learn to time the movement of the breath with the movement of the Conception Meridian (任脈 Rèn Mài) and Governing Meridians (督脈 Dū Mài). The sudden exhale with the movement of energy going up the Governing Meridian (督脈 Dū Mài). The timing of the inhale while energy is withdrawing back to the inside, in harmony with the Conception Meridian (任脈 Rèn Mài). A single, quick thought to time the movement of the two meridians with the breathing. This is then called 'Harmonizing the True Breath' (調真息 Tiáo Zhēn Xī) a.k.a. 'The Skill of Playing the Flute from Both Ends' (橐籥功夫 Tuó Yuè Gōng​fu).

This initial stage of 'Harmonizing the Breath' can also be a means to help oneself enter into a state of calmness but it's important to not be so calm that you stop the movement in the Du and Ren meridians and their coordination with the breath. Meaning the breath must still fully exit out and enter back in to the abdomen and the energy in the 督脈 Dū Meridian rise up to the top of the head and make it to 'Hundred Meetings Point' (百會穴 Bǎi Huì Xué) on the Ren Meridian while the breath is being exhaled to the outside through the nostrils. Then the 'True Breath' (真息 Zhēn Xī) comes back in from 百會穴 Bǎi Huì Point and the breath inhaled through the nose, coming down through the 任脈 Rèn Meridian, arriving at the bottom of the abdomen.

炼精化气阶段,内丹功法称初关。 运行的线路和筑基时一模一样。 这个阶段的主要任务是在筑基的基础上进一步锻炼精气神,达到元精元气与神合凝生成药,也称炁。 如果说筑基阶段以炼气为主,气在任督二脉不断循环运行,那么炼精化炁是指药沿着任督二脉循环运行,称运河车,运行中使药不断纯化。 过尾闾关时需要细步慢行,如羊驾车;经过夹脊关时象鹿驾车,可以大步急奔;过玉枕关时,通道较小,要象牛驾车一样用力猛冲。 从泥丸宫下行要结合沐浴和退符,使得到初步凝练的药归于丹田。

The 2nd Stage is called 'Refining Essence (精 Jīng) and transforming it into Energy (氣 Qì)'. In the Daoist Internal Cultivation Methods (内丹功法 Nèi​dān Gōng Fǎ) this is also called 'Passing through the First Gate' (初關 Chū Guān). 'Building the Foundation' practice's goal is to have the energy move through the same circuit exactly the same way every time [without deviation]. This Stages goal and primary mission is to build the base for the later Stages and further strengthen and temper the 精 Jīng, 氣 Qì, and 神 Shén and have the Original Essence (元精 Yuán Jīng), the Original Energy (元氣 Yuán Qì), and Spirit (神 Shén) working in unity and concentrating to form the 'Elixir of Life' a.k.a. our 'Vitality' (炁 Qì).

If the most important point of 'Building the foundation Stage' is to Refine Energy (氣 Qì) and have it endlessly circle through the Du and Ren meridians. Then this Stage is working to further Refine the Essence (精 Jīng) and transform it into 'Vitality' (炁 Qì). Which also then follows behind the movement of Energy through the Du and Ren meridians and their continuous Circuit. The body now becoming more like a generator, or a machine. This machine is then constantly generating and transforming this Elixir in the center of the body (Dantian).

Now, in order to 'Open the Three Gates' one begins at passing through the first/ 'Tailbone Gate' by pulling under the tailbone then carefully take a step and start to walk slowly around like a Goat pulling a cart. When working at passing through the 'Middle/ Spine Gate' one begins to move a little quicker like a Deer pulling a cart, where you're taking large strides, rapidly moving forward. Then, Passing through the 'Upper Gate', the road/ path is now comparatively narrow and you must be more like an Ox pulling a cart, physically exerting and charging forward. Then finally, cooling down, slow down the walking and you let the energy flow downward from the pituitary gland (Mud Pill Palace), joining with and immersed in the calming of the breath. Slowing down the breathing combined with the slowed stepping. As the stepping and breathing is slowed the Elixir (炁 Qì) is gradually brought back into the 丹田 Dān​tián.

[The above is essentially how a 'Circle Walking' / 'Circle Turning' Session is done in Baguazhang. Opening the Three Gates can also be done more vigorously in the Palm/ Direction Changes and then also when practicing 'Striking Drills', only after one properly learns to use 'Bolang Jin' (Crashing Wave Power) of the spinal column.]

上药三品,神与气精,其实精气神三者是并立的,根据内炼的不同层次和位置分别冠以元气、元精、元神。 筑基使人增加元气。 炼精化炁就是让精气神进一步合炼。 起始阶段合炼出来的称外药,外药是生而采的,即筑基阶段在气海里贮满了元气,在静极一动的时候就表明活子时到来,意味着外药生成,这时就要开始采药。 药生成于西南即腹部。 采取以后就要封固在丹田。 封固的目的在于继续炼药,使它越来越纯。 元神运行到一定程度就会与已经积蓄的元炁在下丹田交会,产生一种比外药更纯的真种子,不采它,它永远是气的一种,只有采了它,它就能迎合外药成为“炁”,结成丹母。 有了丹母才能归根复命,所以炼精化炁阶段实际上就是“三归二”的过程。

The advanced levels of Refining and developing the 'Elixir' consists of using the Spirit (神 Shén) and Energy (氣 Qì)/ Essence (精 Jīng). In actuality, at this level, these three exist side by side. As there is Original Energy (元氣 Yuán Qì), Original Essence (元精 Yuán Jīng), and Original Spirit (神元 Yuán Shén).

In the 1st Stage- 'Building the Foundation' is used to increase the practitioner's Energy (元氣 Yuán Qì).

In the 2nd Stage- Refining the Essence (精 Jīng) to transform (化 Huà) it into 'Vitality' (炁 Qì) will then permit the 'Three Energies' (精氣神 Jīng​qì​shén) to all be Refined at the same time. In the beginning of this stage the whole body is refining and bringing the 'Elixir' to the outside/ exterior. The key point is to grow and gather the 'External Elixir'. At this point the 'Building the Foundation' Stage should have already completely filled up the Dantian. Before you initiate a movement the body should be capable of being extremely still. The when you move it's extremely fast and quickly comes alive. The whole body can move extremely fast because the energy is already there as it's now everywhere throughout your body and there's no gap between the Intent (意 Yì) to move and the movement of energy. This ability will signify that your 'External Elixir' is fully developed. At this point you can begin to work on the next stage of gathering more and more internal 'Elixir', and progress on to the 3rd and 4th Stages.

[After these 2 Stage one's Martial Abilities will be properly developed and continue to be gradually increased with each practice session. The 'Vitality' (炁 Qì) throughout the whole body, (the whole body is now like a Dantian or container) which makes the body more like forge or an oven surrounding the 'Internal Fire' and the further Stages are for developing the "Three Energies' (精氣神 Jīng​qì​shén) Returning to Two", then the "Two Energies Returning to the One" and finally the "Spirit Returning to the Void (虛 Xū)" and deals more with the spiritual/ mental side of the Cultivation Practices.]

[So to sum up - While practicing, our Mind (心 Xīn) is aware of what's going on outside of our bodies, preferably without too much distraction happening in the environment but aware enough just in case a real interruption occurs. We use our Intent (意 Yì) to distract our Mind (心 Xīn) from wandering by using our Intent (意 Yì) to solely focus on the Internal Work happening on the inside. It has to multitask: part of it's at the 丹田 Dān​tián; part of it's on the hands; then part of it is going through the checklist of requirements-- Is the crown of the head at the top, chin tucked under, tip of the tongue pressing up behind the hard palate, neck lengthened and slightly angled forward then held strong to close-off 'Da Zhui' Point, collar bones relaxed, shoulders dropped, elbows hanging down, chest concaved while back of the chest is expanded outward, tailbone pulled/ tucked under by using the muscles on the front of the body, the perineum and whole pelvic basin is contracting upward, the lumbar part of the spine rounded-out towards the back, abdomen is full and slightly rounded out to the front, meanwhile the area of the Belt meridian is contracting back in to counteract the inside of the abdomen pressing outward, the knees are bent, the ten toes grasping the ground so that 'Yongquan/ Kidney 1' point in the center of the foot is slightly lifted, etc.]

[By using our Intent (意 Yì) to focus on just the work at hand we naturally enter into a meditative state where our Mind (心 Xīn) is clear and empty (無 Wú a.k.a. 無心 Wúxīn). Using our Intent (意 Yì) to go through the mental checklist of requirements is kind of like when you're lying in bed before you go to sleep and mentally checking if all the doors and windows in your house are secure. In the beginning of one's practice their body is like just having moved into a new house. It takes time to get familiar with it, but after getting used to living in the new house the act of securing it and the mental checklist becomes like a habit. So in the practice the mental checklist can be done very quickly and efficiently so that our Intent (意 Yì) can spend more time just focusing on the 丹田 Dān​tián.]

Last edited by D_Glenn on Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:56 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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... Summary Continued.

Postby D_Glenn on Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:10 pm

In the post above I had written: [I'm only translating the parts that pertain to the Martial Practices and in particular the Daoist practices that had been incorporated into the Chinese Martial System of Baguazhang. If one so wishes they can figure out how to extrapolate them into or figure out how similar concepts were incorporated into the other Martial Systems.]

What I meant was that I was only translating the first 6 of the 11 paragraphs in the 4th section (out of 6 sections total) from Zhang Zhenguo's essay. ~ ... cleid=1822

And really all 4 Stages of the Neidan practices are applicable to the martial arts and were incorporated into Baguazhang.


{Zhang Boduan believed the key points in Daoist Internal Cultivation rely on using 'Yin and Yang' combined with the 'Regulating and Controlling of Heat in the body' via using 'The Skill of turning the Kan and Li [Trigrams] upside down'. While the highest levels of Cultivation are 'Obtaining the [proverbial and extremely rare] Black Pearl of the mind' [The Black Pearl representing true 'Wisdom' (智 Zhì)], 'Returning the core processes back to their original state', and ultimately living a long life on earth and in heaven.}

The 離卦 Lí Guà ☲ is associated with Fire (火 Huǒ) and the Heart-Mind Spirit (心神 XinShen) or consciousness of our mind. The Heart-Mind can have a tendency to be rash and act like a wild horse in a stable where it's behavior is only injuring itself.

The 坎卦 Kǎn Guà ☵ is associated with Water (水 Shuǐ) and the Kidneys and Essences (精 Jīng) and the is the 'Wisdom' (智 Zhì) to control the rashness of the Heart-Mind and the 'Willpower/ Ambition' (志 Zhì) to set out on the course of Self-Cultivation and follow it through to the end.

The Fire is naturally above the Water both in our body (as the Heart is above the Kidneys) and in nature as Fire rises up and disappears into the Heavens and Water flows down to the lowest spots of the Earth.

Stage 1 "Building the Foundation" is essentially 技巧在于坎离颠倒 "The Skill of turning the Kan and Li [Trigrams] upside down" which is achieved by building up the Dantian and figuratively putting a pot of water over the fire to control the heat and produce Steam/ Original Energy (元氣 Yuán​qì) from the boiling of water. This stage is using non-movement or Stillness of the external body to build up an excess of Energy throughout the body.

Stillness (靜 Jìng) is represented by the 艮卦 Gèn Guà ☶ because it is associated with the tallest mountains that are high up above the treeline where nothing grows.

Stage 2 "Refining Essence into Elixir" is building upon that foundation by now using 'Movement' to further circulate the Original Energy (元氣 Yuán​qì) through the Ren and Du meridians which then combines with the Original Essence (元精 Yuán Jīng) and Spirit (神 Shén) to produce a stable form of Energy called 'Vitality' (炁 Qì) or the 'Elixir'. Then using the movement of 'Vitality' (炁 Qì) to build and strengthen the body from the inside-out. An Internal 'Iron Body' is gradually built where the flesh, muscles, tendons, and bone become solid and strong like the bricks that house a Forge (鎔爐 Róng​lú) or rather the 煉丹八卦爐 Liàn​dān​bā​guà​lú (Eight Trigram Furnace for Cooking the 'Elixir of Life').

Movement (動 Dòng) is represented by the 震卦 Zhèn Guà ☳ which is associated with thunder and lightning, where the quick flash of lightning and loud crack of thunder shocks and startles one to move and the Zhèn Trigram is located in the East where the Sun rises and gives life to plants, trees which create the oxygen for all things to live and grow.

Movement and Stillness need to be controlled in the body by the 巽卦 Xùn Guà ☴ (which is associated with the wind) and by the 兌卦 Duì Guà ☱ (which is associated with the lowlands or swamps).

Too much Movement (震卦 Zhèn Guà) and it becomes like a fast wind that blows uncontrollably through the body, drying it out. So the Movement needs to be balanced out by the Sinking (沉 Chén) downward of the 兌卦 Duì Guà.

Too much Stillness (艮卦 Gèn Guà) and it can be sunk down too low and stagnates into a murky swamp. So 'Stillness' needs to balanced out by using Wind (巽卦 Xùn Guà) and it's ability to Soar (腾 Téng) upward to help move and to slightly dry out the wetness. The inside of the body needs to be a balance between Moving and Stillness; and a balance between wet and dry.

Stage 3 "Refining Energy into Spirit" is using the 乾卦 Qián Guà ☰ a.k.a. the 陽鼎 Yáng Dǐng (the Yang Cauldron; Lí ☲ changed into Qián ☰) above and the 坤卦 Kūn Guà ☷ a.k.a. 陰爐 Yīn Lú (the Yin Furnace; Kǎn ☵ changed into Kūn ☷) below. The Original Spirit (神元 Yuán Shén) is like a Crow that can live a long calm life. While the Original Essence (元精 Yuán Jīng) is like the short and quick life cycle of a Rabbit. In the Foundation Stage one works to turn the heat down where now, in this Stage, the heat needs to be turned back up to simultaneously transform the excess Original Energy (元氣 Yuán​qì) into 'Vitality' (炁 Qì), but still promoting/ keeping the Original Essence (元精 Yuán Jīng) intact, and transforming 'Vitality' (炁 Qì) into more Original Spirit (神元 Yuán Shén). "3 Returning to 2".

Stage 4 "Refining Spirit (神 Shén) to Return it to the Void (虛 Xū)" Refining 'Vitality' (炁 Qì) and transforming it into Spirit (神 Shén) is combined into one. Called "2 Returning to 1" in Daoism. The External and Internal Elixir are extremely strong and the thoughts are quieted and the spirit is focused inward on the Middle Dantian. At this stage the body is strong and healthy so work on the mental side is the focus.

Last edited by D_Glenn on Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Song Dynasty Theory as applied to the Martial Arts

Postby D_Glenn on Sun May 11, 2014 11:18 am

Here's some background information on the origins of Bagua Daoist Cultivation practices being merged with the Chinese Martial Arts and then becoming Internal Chinese martial arts, (and the most likely reason why Dong Haichuan, would later, secretly name his own Martial System: Bagua Zhang).

刘奉天 Liu Fengtian (real name was 李廷玉 Li Tingyu) was a follower of the Daoist Bagua Religion and during the years of the Qing Emperor (1644-1662) he set up his own sect of Bagua schools and had five Daoist schools around his hometown in Shandong province and taught many people but only accepted eight great-disciples: 郜云龙 Gao Yunlong (aka 离卦 Li Trigram 卦长 Trigram Elder), 郭图元 Guo Tuyuan、陈南兴(河南人) Chen Nanxing (the Henan Man)、张照祥 Zhang Zhaoxiang、姬易学(山西人) Ji Yixue (the Shanxi Man)、刘兴邦 Liu Xingbang、邱执奉 Qiu Zhifeng、王国清 Wang Guoqing (震卦教的开山祖师 Who would later go on to found the Zhen Trigram Branch)。

郜云龙 Gao Yunlong (aka 离卦 Li Trigram 卦长 Trigram Elder) would later change his teaching name to 郜难国 Gao Nanguo. Legend says he's a descendant of 赵匡胤 Zhao Kuan Yin (Song Tai Zu emperor(927-976)). The family had previously gone with the surname of 宋 Song but had later changed it to 郜 Gao. Before he entered the Bagua Religion school he was proficient in the martial art of 32 Pattern Long Boxing (三十二式长拳), aka "红拳 Hong Quan". Gao Yunlong achieved the Dao and "Penetrated the Heavens to become a True Person" (Zhenren) and worked with Liu Fengtian to combine the Wen (Literary) Daoist material with the Wu (martial) and combine them into one single practice. They joined their efforts and studied and researched to find a way where one could be both an extremely skilled fighter and become a Zhenren (True Person, the highest achievement in Daoism/ Enlightened). The birth and death of 郜云龙 Gao Yunlong is unknown but the Li Trigram school is dated to the middle years of the second Qing Emperor (1661-1722). Liu Fengtian probably died around 1701. Liu Fengtian was invited to the capitol in Beijing but brought all eight of his great-disciples along. After Liu Fengtian's death his son Liu Ru took over his school. While Gao Yunlong divided his own school into two schools- in Henan and Shandong.

He would have his students follow the Daoist practices every morning called the "Zhen Kong" (True Empty), and learn 八字真诀 Ba Zi Zhen Jue (True Secrets of the Eight Characters), and 神拳 Shen Quan (Spirit Boxing), and also practice a variant of 红拳 Hong Quan.

He combined Hong Quan with the internal theories of using the Qi/ energy harmonized/blended with martial movements. Where one was practicing the external and internal movements to be in harmony and work like one unit -- and according to the theory of Wuji and Taiji. The Taiji moves and gives rise to Yang, Movement's opposite is Stillness, and Stillness gives rise to Yin, Movement and Stillness are locked in an endless turning circle. Yang changing to Yin gives rise to the Five Elements: Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, and Earth, Wuji arranges the elements into the endless cycles of the Four Seasons: (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter). The Five Elements, Yin and Yang, and the Taiji are then used to express the mutual and varied changes in the Shape of the martial movements and thus is born the fusion of combining the practice of exercising Qi and the Martial movements and is the first Nei Jia Quanshu (Internal Family Martial Skills) and is the creation of blending the Bagua Religion's Innermost Secrets with the martial arts, in order to teach them both.

[ 郜氏离卦教的传承关系如下: Gao Family Li Trigram Teaching. Lineage and Relationships as follows:
---嫡传后人郜氏 (Handed down in direct line from the Gao Family; Generation:
  1. 杨士(四)海 Yang Shi (Si) Hai, (乾隆四十三年 was banished in the year (1778)充军西藏 --- taught 杜恒信 Du Hengxin
  2. 郜二(郜得福) 郜巩(郜拱)---王光---王祥---冯克善 Feng Keshan (精文圣功梅花拳,天理教起义军的首领武圣人).
  3. 郜三(郜建福) 郜添麟(高道远).
  4. (四子从幼亡继远).
  5. 郜五(郜鸿福)郜添佑---郜生文---郜与---郜坦照 ---郜东来.]

杨士(四)海 Yang Shi (Si) Hai became Gao Yunlong's first student around. He learned and continued Gao's work of blending the Wen and Wu known as Wenwu Gong.

After Gao Yunlong's death 杨士海 Yang Shihai started a variation of the Li Gua Yi He Quan Men (Li Trigram Theory and Boxing Harmonized System) but now only known as the martial art of 神拳 Shen Quan (Spirit Boxing).

杜恒信 Du Hengxin had grew up with a desire to always learn and practice martial arts and had studied his village style called Jing Family Boxing and became quite skilled and then would seek out Yang Shihai. His training progressed at a very rapid rate, both internally with the Daoist practices and progressed further martially and had both great fighting skills, good health, and mental functioning.

Around 1778 杨士海 Yang Shihai was somehow tricked into a scheme and ended up being banished from the Capitol, but 杜恒信 Du Hengxin, being from a wealthy farming family, was able to follow Yang Shihai and supported them financially and lived with him and continued studying and learning all that he knew.

杜恒信 Du Hengxin took the Wen and developed the Wu (martial) side even further. Combining the Book of Changes, Confucian, and Daoist Literary theories/ culture (Wenhua): Yin and Yang, Five Elements and blended it with battlefield tactics, Horseback, Martial art, into a cohesive Quan Jia (Fighting Framework).

During 杜恒信 Du Hengxin's time the martial art was still in it's fledgling stage/ prototype but became famous for it's Yue Bu Jieming Qi Qiang (Leaping Step Cut a life short Wonderful Spear), the Wensheng Liuhe Da Qiang (Great scholar Six Harmony Large Spear), the Jiu Lu Meihua Da Dao (Nine Road Plum Blossom Saber) and empty hand skills.

His art became known as 杜家拳 Du Jia Quan (Du Family Boxing) but was also called 长寿拳 Changshou Quan (Long Life Boxing) and because of the practices: Six Step Frame Boxing and Five Arm Boxing-Five Step Frame.

杜恒信 Du Hengxin had numerous disciples such as Wang Xingang, Tian Zaitan, Hou Xianzhang, etc.

杜恒信 Du Hengxin passed on the 文武功法 Wenwu Gong Fa (Scholarly and Martial Methods Combined) aka Wensheng Quan (Great Scholar Boxing) to his son 杜玉珍 Du Yuzhen, who in turn passed on the 杜家拳 Du Jia Quan (Du Family Boxing) and 文武功法 Wenwu Gong Fa (Scholarly and Martial Methods Combined) to his son 杜广穆 Du Guangmu, who passed it to his son 杜金房 Du Jinfang, who was really strong and took the martial art to an even greater level (拳法拳技炉火纯青 Fighting technique and fighting skill were brought to the point of perfection.)

杜金房 Du Jinfang would teach 宋传平 Song Chuanping (1892—1996; who would teach 宋隆康 Song Longkang; who would teach 王安林 Wang Anlin (?).


There is/was a lot of lineages and students of Guo Yunlong's art 'Li Trigram System/ Spirit Boxing' and later known as Changshou Quan and now as Wensheng Quan. But these schools were involved in the Bagua Uprising of 1813 and played a major part in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 and while initially they were supported by the Dowager Empress and had secret meetings with her Chief Advisor "Cobbler" Li, after the failed rebellion was all over there needed to be someone to pay and "Cobbler" Li knew who they were so this style of martial art was essentially erased from history and anyone who had survived the retributions did everything they could to distance themselves from the school.

Feng Keshan

Great Master Feng Keshan (冯克善, 1776~1858), was said to have studied a multitude of martial arts since his youth, he had a natural talent and could acquire the essence of both letters and combat quickly. During his adolesence and young years Feng Keshan was a ruffian, often being involved in quarrels, fights and troubles within the community, yet he acquired quite a following and this later led to the interest in his skills and qualities by rebellious leaders.

In the Chuojiao tradition it is thought that Feng Keshan studied from many teachers since his youth, but was principally a disciple (in 1797) of Master Wang Xiang from Rencheng (today's Jinning, Shandong), Master Tang Hengdong from Hua County (Huaxian, Henan) and Master Wang and Li from Hejian. The various boxing systems from those teachers and others included Erlangquan, Huaquan, Yanqingquan, Meihuazhuang, BaFanshou, Hongquan and Zhiziquan (Chuojiao) which are the basis of the skills that Feng Keshan later propagated across the Cangzhou and Baoding regions of Hebei Province.

As his teacher Wang Xiang was a well respected and capable boxing master, as well as a prominent figure in the Bailian Jiao (White Lotus) and later the Bagua Jiao (8 Trigrams). Feng Keshan became associated with Lin Qing and Li Wencheng, to become the leader of the Li Trigram. However, after his teachers death in the 4th month of 1813, Feng Keshan became disinterested in the Uprising plans and abandoned the cause. Official Qing government records indicated that Feng Keshan was executed by the Qing government in 1814, but this was common practice to proclaim the death of rebellious leaders to demonstrate success over rebellions.

Feng Keshan and some members of his sect dispersed to Zhili (Hebei province). As a result, Feng Keshan (or Zhao Canyi in the Raoyang tradition) was the father of Chuojiao Men. research has confirmed the various village records (Shen County, Raoyang and Li County), traditions (both Meihuazhuang and Chuojiao) passed on amongst martial arts practitioners that Feng Ke Shan was indeed Zhao Canyi, Zhao Laoxian, Feng Keming and Wandering Shaolin Monk Fa Jing , as those were all aliases that were used to hide his identity from authorities after the failed Bagua ‘8 Trigrams’ uprising.

In 1813 Feng Keshan had travelled from Dezhou county in Shandong province to various counties across Hebei Province. He changed his names many times and as a result was known in each area often by a different name. Only his closest disciples would know his actual name. In Dezhou he taught Liu Tang Gen (6 Sequences of Roots). In Raoyang he first taught Huaquan (Marvellous Boxing) in 12 Tangzi (Routines) in the Southern villages. In the Northern villages he taught Jinggang Jia (Jingang frames) and Jing Gang Chui (Jingang Strikes). In Shen county, in addition to Jingang Chui he taught various boxing methods - Erlang quan and Bafan shou.

Master Feng Keshan’s earlier students in 1811, were Song Yulin and Song Yuelong in Dezhou , whom had joined the Li Trigram division of the 8 Trigrams Sect. After Song Yuelong having lost a duel with Feng Keshan his followers all were to join the Li Trigram. They were recorded as having studied the Liu Tang Gen methods from Feng Keshan. Later around 1815 in Raoyang his disciples included the Duan Family, the Duan brothers (Duan Yonghe & Duan Yongqing) received tuition in Chuojiao as they were taught privately (Zhao Canyi (name in Raoyang) was hired as a private martial arts teacher for the household). Also around the time there was a famous Hongquan (Red) and Huaquan (Flower) boxing teacher Zhou Laoting, who became Master Feng’s senior disciple and contributed to further developing the Chuojiao art in Raoyang. Feng Keshan then in approx. 1825 headed to Lixian (Li county), northwest from Raoyang. He was introduced to the Liu family (to teach their three sons) by Duan Yonghe to become resident teacher there.

The Liu family records state three teachers of the household Feng keshan, Yang Jing and Tang Youyi. This time Master Feng taught a complete and ordered system which included Liu Tang Gen, Jing Gang Jia as fundamentals and then 18 sequences of Chuo jiao divided into scholarly and military (Wen/Wu Tangzi). In addition Yia zi Chui, San lan Shou and other great works were developed. Although teachers of the Liu family proper other locals were also taught. Some of the disciples in Li county included Wei Chang Yi and Wei Laofang amongst many others. Another Master Wang Zhiguo of the same generation as Master Zhao Canyi, was also a practitioner of the Chuojiao and Fanzi martial arts and contributed to various branches of the style. His sons were sent to study with Zhao Canyi and developed excellent skills. Since Zhao Canyi spent many years in Hebei teaching in different areas, the variations to Chuojiao are numerous. Fundamentally, however they have all become similar in concept and essence whilst the structure and organization of the systems contents may differ.

Development of the superb system of Chuojiao Men

To hide from authorities, Feng Keshan when he commenced teaching in the Baoding prefecture of Hebei Province undertook a few precautions. This included changing his name (such as Zhao Canyi) which took many different versions including that of buddhist priest (Fa Jing) as well as teaching different martial arts or aspects in every location. This resulted in both confusion over his identity but also over his boxing methods. It was later in his life when located in Li County that he started to apply his real name, even then it was as Feng Keming, prior to reverting to Feng Keshan.

In the early teaching period, some of the student from different villages/counties compared what they had learnt and approached Master Feng about the problem. Essentially disciples in one village studied the boxing methods (forms or routines) whilst the other only studied combat methods/applications - thus they enquired as to which is better. Master Feng responded that neither is better, nor are either deficient and that in fact they should mutually exchange. It was after this period that the comprehensive Chuojiao system started to take shape. Together with his fellow comrades from the 8 Trigrams Sect (Tang, Yang) and excellent disciples (Duan, Zhou) coupled with the students in Li county further developed the style into the complete art which then became a very comprehensive system of martial arts known as “Chuo Jiao Men”.

Thus, although Chuojiao is recognized is a specific martial art it in fact encompassed a great many martial arts systems from the Central China Plains (Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi and Henan Provinces). Presently there are 3 main branches of Chuo jiao teachings. Hebei Chuojiao, Dongbei Chuojiao and Beiping (Beijing) Chuojiao. Hebei Chuojiao is classified as the ‘Original’ with two main sub-branches, the Raoyang school and the Lixian school. Both counties are recognized as “Wushu Zhi Xiang” (Chuojiao zhi xiang) a term used in China to indicate the concentration of martial arts skills in areas. They are known as representative of the Hebei branch of Chuojiao and probably the most original. Of the students in Lixian, the Liu Family continued the teachings proper and following the Wen/Wu classification of the sets. Zhou Laoting's disciple Zhao returned to his county Gao Yang and only passed the art to his sons and their family, being supplemented later by his descendants and the boxing styles from neighbouring villages. Wei Changyi taught the style which later became the Beijing Chuo Jiao Fan Zi style as passed on by Wu Binlou, who had researched all branches and attempted to restore or develop the style. Master Wu Binlou was famous in Beijing and taught many students. The arts contents differ in structure and the forms contain many ‘fanzi’ based names. Although a division of Chuojiao it is known as Chuojiaofanziquan. Since the developments above Master Feng Keshan (Zhao Canyi) is regarded as the first patriarch/generation master of Chuojiao.(In some lineages it is Master Wang Zhiguo).

In 1843, Feng Keshan already advanced in age left Li county, and records suggest he travelled to Sunning or Gu'an counties, others suggest that he journeyed to the west (Sichuan province). A formidable fighter, a keeper of many martial arts systems, a rebel, a leader, a teacher, a wanted man, a monk, a healer, a wanderer, a begger, a sage - Feng Keshan's legacy is left through the Chuojiao system.

The Disciples of Chuojiao Men...

Last edited by D_Glenn on Sun May 11, 2014 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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